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  1. #1
    TAPnRACK's Avatar
    TAPnRACK is offline Member
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    AMT .380 Questions

    My Dad's friend found a "family heirloom" handgun and asked me to check it out. I found it was made by a small CA company : Arcadia Machine & Tool. My best guess is it was produced in the late 80's or very early 90's. My search explained these handguns were expensive, but unreliable & had quality control issues (explains why their out of business). My Dad's friend beleives it has been in the family for at least 30 years.

    Here are some pics... any further info on this model or it's history is much appreciated.

    Original cardboard box with plastic insert to hold firearm.
    Safety is where most modern handguns put the mag release button.
    Surprised to see it being hammer-less.

    Mag eject is a lever located on bottom of grip, interesting design that would seem to have obvious issues.

    Any additional info would be welcome... thanks.

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  3. #2
    paratrooper is online now Senior Member
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    I have a NIB .45acp AMT Back-Up.

    They are a quirky gun. Some shoot just fine, and others.....well, not so much. I think a lot of it has to do with limp-wristing and lack of a firm grip. I've heard that they don't like hollow-point rounds.

    Anyways, I've fired a friend's, chambered in 9mm. It feeds, functions and shoots fine. At one time, I was gonna shoot mine, but decided not to, and keep it as unfired, in case I decide to sell it in the future.

    They were available in quite a few calibers as I recall. Anyways, since the one you show is complete, it may be worth a pretty penny. A quick check on GunBroker will pretty much show you what they are selling for.

    I do think that the AMT Back-Up series will increase in value as the years go by.

    Another little tid-bit. Tell your father's friend to buy some extra factory mags while they are still available.

  4. #3
    TAPnRACK's Avatar
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    Thanks Paratrooper...

    I saw 2 newer looking models going for $400 with only 1 mag and a newer plastic box... my Dad's friend is not "into" guns and had no idea what this was.
    I recommended they either hold on to it or sell it, but didn't recommend firing it until I take a look under the hood... apparently it has no takedown pin/lever and a pin in the slide needs to be punched out to remove the slide from the frame (thanks YouTube).

    Unsure if this has been fired or not as it was a HD gun purchase.

  5. #4
    paratrooper is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by TAPnRACK View Post
    Thanks Paratrooper...

    I saw 2 newer looking models going for $400 with only 1 mag and a newer plastic box... my Dad's friend is not "into" guns and had no idea what this was.
    I recommended they either hold on to it or sell it, but didn't recommend firing it until I take a look under the hood... apparently it has no takedown pin/lever and a pin in the slide needs to be punched out to remove the slide from the frame (thanks YouTube).

    One thing for sure, he won't lose any money on it by keeping it for a while.

  6. #5
    TAPnRACK's Avatar
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    That's what I was thinking... it's been in the family for a long time... a little longer couldn't hurt, lol.

  7. #6
    USVI's Avatar
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    I had one of these a LONG time ago. It was fairly reliable, except for the broken firing pin I replaced.The ex-wife took it and I let her keep it. AMT-AutoMag was acquired by High Standard on the 2000s. They still make a DAO version. Here's a link for you all..AMT Automag

  8. #7
    Philco is online now Member
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    I had one of those back in the mid 80s. It was the worst JAM-O-MATIC that I ever owned. I honestly don't think I or anyone else ever successfully fired a full mag through it without a jam. I sent it back to the factory once but they weren't able to help a bit. I finally traded it off. Of all the guns I've owned over the years, that's the one gun I never once wished I still had.

  9. #8
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    I had one of those many years ago. I remember it was not pleasant to shoot. I also owned one of their long slide .45's. It was very accurate, but no matter what I did, it would not reliably feed hollowpoints. I wouldn't mind have it back though.

  10. #9
    cedarhill is offline Junior Member
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    I have two Remington 51, .380's and one fires everytime and the other jambs after the first shot. I have just put them away for later and put more trust in newer guns. These two were from the '20's and belonged to my brother's, father in law. I think it is a problem with more modern magazines that is the problem. They have grip safty and one has to keep a firm hold on the pistol to keep it from jambing.

    Love the lines on this AMT but too bad they jamb also.
    J

  11. #10
    paratrooper is online now Senior Member
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    When it comes to AMT Back-Ups, it's mostly a matter of NOT using hollow-points and keeping a firm grip on the gun and not limp-wristing.

  12. #11
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    RUT
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    >>apparently it has no takedown pin/lever and a pin in the slide needs to be punched out to remove the slide from the frame<<

    It's no big deal to take one of these things down once you get the hang of it. I have one of these things and I've gotta tell you, it'll knock down steel plates better than some of my "real" guns!

  13. #12
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by paratrooper View Post
    When it comes to AMT Back-Ups, it's mostly a matter of NOT using hollow-points and keeping a firm grip on the gun and not limp-wristing.
    A firm grip? Yup. I second the motion.
    Small guns need to be held quite firmly, in order to function reliably.

    Use hollow-point bullets? Well, it's not a problem if you first do a ramp-polish job on the gun.

    As many of you know, until very recently I pocket-carried an AMT .45 Backup as my primary EDC.
    As soon as I had purchased it, I did a ramp-polish job on it.
    I bet that it'd now feed empty cases, although I haven't tried it. Certainly, it feeds everything else, including "flying ashtrays."

    I suggest also doing a simple polish job on all of its interior trigger-connected parts, as I did on mine.
    It doesn't decrease the pull weight by much, but the apparent pull-weight reduction, due to improved smoothness, is quite amazing.

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